Bond Head Subdivision Plans moving forward 0
Residents of Bond Head filled the BWG Council Chamber on June 19, as Council considered applications for Subdivision Approvals and Zoning By-law Amendments for the Bond Head settlement area.
Bond Head Properties Two Inc. and Bond Head Properties Three Inc. put forward a proposed "North Plan", for 334 detached dwellings on 54 hectares north of 88/7th Line, straddling County Rd. 27.
At the same time, Geranium Development (Bradford) Corp., Southerts Development Inc. and Featherie Development Inc. proposed a South Plan of Subdivision, with a total of 723 residential units on 62 hectares south of 88/7th Line.
In Open Forum, resident Dave Morton argued that the proposals should not be allowed to proceed at this time. Among his concerns: there is only a single point of access shown in the southeast quadrant of the South Plan, on Mulock Drive. Other "conceptual" roads are drawn on the plan - but, Morton pointed out, the properties shown do not belong to the developer.
The southeast quadrant "should not be permitted to proceed" until the developer actually owns the property needed for access, Morton said - adding that the "wish" for a County Rd. 27 bypass, also drawn on the maps, "is premature," and could prove as costly as Dissette St.
He complained that the developers, who included images of a revitalized downtown Bond Head in earlier presentations to residents, were now backing away from improvements, because they don't own the downtown land. Morton urged the Town to pressure Geranium to make changes, as occurred with the company's Big Bay Point Resort proposal in Innisfil. "What are we in Bradford West Gwillimbury - the poor, distant cousins?"
Morton said Council should consider "rejecting this premature proposal for developing Bond Head... making sure it's done right."
The Town received over a dozen letters, mostly from residents of Mulock Drive, worried that the decision to make Mulock "the only access road to 600 plus new homes" would destroy the peace and safety of their residential street.
Director of Planning Geoff McKnight explained that Mulock has always been designated a ring road in the plans, and will eventually link all 4 quadrants of the village - but stated that development in the southeast quadrant would be phased in, with future phases dependent on the construction of additional access roads.
McKnight agreed that Geranium "does not own all the lands", needed for those roads or for the 27 Bypass, a County project that is 10 to 15 years down the road. But he noted that in response to complaints, the developers have moved a temporary construction access away from the existing homes, to a location south of the Durabody plant.
Councillor Gary Lamb pointed out that the growth "is in the Official Plan. It's done. The development is going to happen" - but, he said, "I'd like to see it done with little impact on the village." He urged the developers to modify their plans, to minimize impact on old Bond Head.
Deputy Mayor Rob Keffer spoke for many of the Bond Head residents when he complained of the short notice. Residents - and Council - only had 1 week to review the draft plans of subdivision. "The big question is, what is the rush? Why didn't this come to Committee of the Whole, so we could have sober second thought?"
"Why one application, when there are 5 owners and 2 separate areas?" the Deputy Mayor asked. And while there are numerous conditions in place - 102 for North Plan, 135 for the South - "one of the most important conditions is left out": the requirement that the employment lands along Hwy. 400 be developed before the residential development in Bond Head proceeds.
He told Council, "I am not prepared to pass this draft Plan of Subdivision tonight" - but was persuaded to hold off on a Motion to Defer until after the debate.
"This is the next step in the process," said Councillor Ron Simpson. "If we don't approve this, if it gets held up, there'll be no development of the Employment lands on the 400. I think we as Council should move forward."
"We have to move this forward," said Councillor Del Crake. "It's tied tightly to the Hwy.400 lands." If the project is stalled, "the big loser is going to be the ratepayers in Bond Head and the ratepayers in Bradford, because if we don't have the industrial tax base, we're going to be out of luck. In my opinion we should get on with it, get this started."
Deputy Mayor Keffer put forward a motion to defer, which was defeated 6-2, Keffer and Lamb voting in favour, in a recorded vote.He called for a recorded vote on the motion to approve the draft plans of Subdivision. That Motion passed 6-2, again with Lamb and Keffer voting against. Councillor James Leduc was absent.
The decision was not popular with those in the audience.
"It's a done deal," said one resident.
"It's absolutely disgraceful what our Council's done," said Meade Helman.